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VOL. 129 | NO. 7 | Friday, January 10, 2014

Dan Conaway

Dan Conaway

Give Me My Money

By Dan Conaway

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IT’S MINE, AND I WANT IT BACK.

“I thought I heard the captain say
Pay me my money down
Tomorrow is our sailing day
Pay me my money down”

That’s from the old work song, “Pay Me My Money Down,” later sung by Pete Seeger and more lately by Bruce Springsteen. I’d like for Bill, Ron, Mark, Brian, all the boys and Beth in Nashville to gather round and listen close before they let five or six billion of my dollars set sail for another state. Before their hardheaded ideology hits the weakest of us the hardest and unravels whatever safety net we had. Before their pitched battle against one black man in one white house costs every child in Tennessee a shot at Pre-K and a chance tomorrow. Before narrow minds with even narrower agendas can do such broad damage across an entire state.

“Pay me, pay me
Pay me my money down
Pay me or go to jail
Pay me my money down”

It’s my money. And yours. We’ve already paid it in federal taxes and now the United States wants to send more than a billion dollars of it back to us every year to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 300,000 working Tennesseans who don’t have insurance now – more than 60,000 of those are our neighbors in Shelby County.

It’s my money. And yours. We’ve already paid it in federal taxes and now the United States wants to send more than $64 million of it back to us to provide pre-K for almost 8,000 more Tennessee kids – thousands more in Shelby County.

It’s my money. And yours. We’ve already paid it in federal taxes and not taking it won’t save the United States a penny, it’ll just send it somewhere else – a billion here and a billion there of your dollars to this state or that – a billion here or a billion there of your dollars to improve hospitals and healthcare somewhere else – to see the light shine in a child’s eyes in a distant classroom – for a healthier, brighter future in some distant city.

The reasons for taking the money are simple. First, it’s yours and it should go to you. Second, it’ll pay for the entire Medicaid expansion the first year and 90 percent of it every year after that, and pre-K gets thrown in as a bonus. Third, even if something happens down the line – and, granted, something generally does – the benefits derived in the interim, the lives saved, and the positive momentum will be meaningful and lasting.

The reasons for not taking it are simple, too. Actually, there’s just one. If we take our own money back from the United States to solve our own problems and invest in our own tomorrow, somebody might think we like – in the words of John McCain from the 2008 campaign – “that one” in the White House.

I’ll leave it up to you to determine which of those simple reasons is simply stupid.

I’m a Memphian, and a Tennessean, and I want my money.

Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at dan@wakesomebodyup.com.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 64 324 13,221
MORTGAGES 107 477 17,235
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 20 82 3,380
BUILDING PERMITS 0 366 30,930
BANKRUPTCIES 67 276 12,619
BUSINESS LICENSES 22 87 4,576
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 71 487 19,380
MARRIAGE LICENSES 28 122 4,031

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